Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Chiefs tie up Mann Cup at two games apiece with 12-6 win over Shamrocks

Johnny Powless scores one of Six Nations' even second period goals en route to a 12-6 win. (Photo: Tim Prothero)
The Six Nations Chiefs rode a 7-3 second period to a 12-6 romp over the Victoria Shamrocks in Game 4 of the 2014 Mann Cup Tuesday night, tying the best of seven series 2-2. The Chiefs, who had lost back to back games in overtime, came out flying and didn't give Victoria a chance to mount another comeback, as they had in Game 3 when they fought back from a trio of four-goal deficits.

Six Nations led 3-0 after the first period, then stretched their lead by scoring the first two goals of the second. After Victoria responded with a pair to give their fans hope, the Chiefs snuffed it out by outscoring the Shamrocks 5-1 the rest of the way in the period. Six Nations' defence was at its smash-mouth best and Brandon Miller was once again excellent in the Chiefs net.

Cody Jamieson led the way for the Chiefs with 4 goals and an assist, Stephen Keogh had 2 goals and 2 helpers and Kasey Beirnes and Jeff Shattler each added a goal and 3 assist. Rhys Duch led the Shamrocks with 2 goals and 1 assist.

Billy Dee Smith said the Chiefs defence focused on staying cool when things went wrong and working together. “Composure is a big thing for us. If they get a couple of goals we've just got to stick to the game plan and keep plugging. We've been talking about it. I think for the first couple of games we were just so hyped up. It's the Mann Cup, you expect to play your best and when things don't go right sometimes it's hard to accept.”

The biggest factor in making the defence work like the league-leading group it has been is communication, Smith said. “I think the biggest difference is we were communicating good. We were talking. Other games it seems like we'd do it for a half period and for whatever reason we just weren't playing like we're used to. We weren't having each other's backs. We were playing good individually but we weren't playing good as a team. Tonight we played like we've done all season, we played 60 minutes.”

Miller said the Chiefs were looking to get back to basics after a subpar performance in Monday's 12-11 OT loss in Game 3. “We talked about our defence is what got us here and it's what's going to have to win it for us. We talked a lot at morning shootaround about having the best defensive game we've had all year. Change a few things up and yeah, we were hitting hard tonight. They brought it, they really brought it. Those guys were the best players on the floor tonight.”

While he deflected much of the credit to the defence in front of him, Miller was named Six Nations' player of the game and was glad that he was able to get out to a good start. “Those big saves early, as important as they were for the team, they were really important for me,” Miller said. “It was a bit of an off game last night so I needed to get out to a good start just so I could feel comfortable again. I just tried to approach it, I think everyone on this team has been looking at the end result during the game as opposed to just one shift, one shot at a time. I tried to get back to that tonight.”

Chiefs' head coach Rich Kilgour said the defence punishing Victoria offensive players was just his club getting back to what they do best. “That's kind of just how they play. They play on the edge, most of the time they have both toes on the line. Once in a while they go over and I'll live with that for how hard they play. That's what people don't realize. They're just playing hard. There's a lot of rules in lacrosse. You're allowed to cross check. You're allowed to slash a little bit. You're allowed to put your shoulder into someone. Those guys do all of that. I'll tell you one thing, I was a righty and I'm glad I'm done playing cause I wouldn't want to go down our left side, that's for sure.”

Victoria head coach Bob Heyes said despite the loss he likes the position his team finds itself in. “I told them if you look at the start of the year that we're going to play a best two out of three for the Mann Cup, why not? We didn't have energy or something at the start tonight. We'll make some adjustments and be ready to go tomorrow. It's a new game. Doesn't matter whether you win by one, lose by one or lose by six, it doesn't matter. I just told them we'll prepare, we'll adjust and be ready to go.”

Game 5 goes Wednesday night at 8pm and Game 6 is Friday at 8pm. All games can be seen via live PPV webcast produced by JVI Video. Click on the Webcast Sports logo in the righthand column of this web site to watch the game.